Cleveland Browns grades: Who got an A, who got an F vs. Giants?
The Cleveland Browns hosted the New York Giants on Sunday. Here are the grades earned by the home team in Preseason Week 2.
After a few days of joint practices between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants over at Browns training camp, the two teams finally got to battle it out down at First Energy Stadium Sunday afternoon on a warm and sunny late August day for preseason game number two.
The Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t play in the game as didn’t many of the Browns starters on both sides of the ball. In the end, the Browns won the preseason game 17-13 in a game that had its standout performances on both ends of the field, but there weren’t any “wow” moments either.
There were several highlights on the day including that the Browns run game came to play this week, running for 163 yards after a rather underperforming run game a week ago in Jacksonville where they didn’t even break 30 yards. The defense also played well as a collective group with new defensive end Malik McDowell giving some nice effort and registering a sack, in his first game in the NFL.
Let’s look a bit closer at each part of the team. Since I’ve been a teacher too in my past, I’m going to give each group a grade on the day as well. I don’t want to spill the beans, but no group got an F. Who got an A?
The Cleveland Browns Offense
With Mayfield being protected by his coaches from any chance of injury, both backup quarterbacks Case Keenum, the aging, kind of one-hit-wonder as a starter, and the young and somewhat inexperienced former Richmond Spider, Kyle Lauletta battled it out against the Giants all afternoon. And though I’m not completely sold on Keenum being that much of a better quarterback than Lauletta, I don’t think Lauletta did a ton of extra things Sunday to swing the pendulum in his favor as the backup to Mayfield when the season starts.
Keenum did a nice job of taking the Browns down the field in their opening drive and scoring on a fourth-and-goal with a bullet pass to KhaDarel Hodge in the left corner of the end zone for six points. Keenum finished the day going 9-of-12 for 74 yards. However, he threw a horrible interception, while the Browns were driving down in the red zone. He was also sacked a couple of times.
Cleveland did bring in the younger Lauletta at the two-minute warning of the first half and did manage to drive 74-yards on 12 plays, but to no avail, as the clock ran out after Lauletta scrambled for 32 yards. In the second half, Lauletta did help get the Browns into the end zone as they took a 14-7 lead. After the Giants had crawled to within one at 14-13, Lauletta led an eight-play drive where the Browns extended the lead to 17-13.
The bigger offensive story on the day was the running game hitting its stride. D’Ernest Johnson, the probable backup running back to the Browns star runners Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, had a nice start to the game. He had runs of 14 and 18 yards and also caught four passes for 29 yards. Rookie Demetric Felton, also had a nice game, running eight times for 25 yards. The big winner was John Kelley who ran for 58 yards on nine carries and looked strong.
In the end, I didn’t like how few opportunities the Browns made for themselves on the offense. For a team that has offensive weapons to only have seven points at half isn’t enough. There were some nice individual performances, but too many short drives that didn’t go anywhere.